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.is technology managing them? What about innovation? What about marketing? As organizations continue to get flatter and flatter, we continue to put more and more pressure on the few left in middle management. It’s not just the personnel either. That may be the easy part. Now, we are being faced with everyone becoming customer facing, the depth of customer penetration within in the ranks is increasing at a rapid wait. The one answer that so many of us fallback to is technology. And, that is also changing at a rapid rate. So what does a manager have to do? This is a transcription of a podcast with Terri Griffith, author of The Plugged-In Manager. The cornerstone of Dr. Griffith’s work is an easy-to-understand framework for plugging in, explained through three core practices.

TRANSCRIPT

  • Business901 Podcast Transcription Implementing Lean Marketing Systems

    Are your Managers managing Technology? Or

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    Stop, Look, Listen Guest was Terri Griffith

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  • Business901 Podcast Transcription Implementing Lean Marketing Systems

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    Terri Griffith in her book The Plugged-In Manager describes an easy-to-understand framework for plugging in, explained through three core practices:

    1. Stop-Look-Listen: What do your data say? What do you already know that will help you with this project?

    2. Mixing: How do you balance your available resources? 3. Sharing: How can you achieve better results by

    integrating your choices with other team members?

    About: Terri Griffith, Ph.D. helps people and organizations work with technology. As a Professor of Management at Santa Clara University (Silicon Valley), Terri helps mix together the technology of work (everything from tele-presence to the size and type of tools a crew would use to build a fence), the way we organize to do this work (virtual

    teams, collaborative leadership, hiring and pay plans), and the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the people we work with.

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    Transcription of Podcast

    Joe Dager: Welcome everyone. This is Joe Dager the host of Buiness901 podcast. With me today is Terri Griffith. She is a professor at Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business and author of the newly published book The Plugged-In Manager. Terri is more than a professor, she is a student on how we mix together the technology of work, the way we organize to do this work and the knowledge skills and the abilities of the people we work with. I would like to welcome Terri and with that said, is that what The Plugged-In Manager is all about? Terri Griffith: The Plugged-In Manager is about how to make use of all the resources you

    have at your disposal. I think many of us tend to focus on the one thing were good at. I try to present The Plugged-In Manager as a way to say, our world is made up of people, technology, tools and organizational practices, lets use all three. Then as you think about using all three, how do you put those together in some kind of systematic way. Joe: I notice when I was preparing that youve been doing virtual distributed collaborations since 1984. Not to date you at all, but wow, can you maybe touch upon what was even going on in distributive collaboration back then.

    Terri: Absolutely and, by the way, I was not the first. There were other people out there ahead of me. Weve been thinking about these issues because teams want to find their

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    best members and sometimes their best members just cant be inside those organizational walls. The ideas of telecommuting were being talked about in 1984. The big issue were how can I trust somebody whom I cant see. That actually pushed me to look at what we were calling than computer monitoring. Most managers were saying there is no way; Im going to let you work outside my organizations wall if I cant see you in some way. That was not taken well; we had people, lobbyist, pushing for laws against it. Imagine that, pushing for laws against something in the collaboration space. The issue is now, were just sending out what were doing, and we want people to know what were doing. We know, theyre going to then turnaround and help us get that task done in many cases. Back in 1984, it was a situation of trust and employees having to beg to be able to do this kind of work practice. Now, youve got the US government saying you have to have a telecommuting plan. We werent so much looking at distributed teams; it was more about individual work being done outside the organizations walls. Now things have changed dramatically, and its an exciting time for me. Joe: What carried over from that time period? What has stayed with us? Terri: The idea that we can work all the time, for better or for worse. If there is some kind of connection that we would have gotten when we were sitting in an office next door to the person if there is some kind of connection we can make so that people still know what it is were doing. Such as when is it we are going to get a piece of a project done and how somebody elses piece is then going to fit in with that. So kind of maintaining that, who knows what, who needs what information and how were going to coordinate once we have

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    all that together. Those things were absolutely necessary in the early 80s, and theyre absolutely necessary now. The beautiful thing is the technology is catching up with our needs.

    Joe: Well, I have to compliment you because youve packed a lot of information into a book and into what I would consider an easy read. This is meant as a compliment. There is a lot of information, but you can use it as an airplane book. Terri: I think you can and that was the goal, or the editing teams goal. We wanted to make sure that this book was accessible to everybody and the ideas in there are based on things that weve been studying and have good data, to support since the 50s. This information has been out there but its been out there in ways that were not accessible, and thats always been kind of frustration for me. We know all these wonderful things, why arent they getting used. I think its because of the terms we were using and the way that it was being taught. The way that we were trying to teach it just wasnt singing to folks. My goal was certainly to find a way to talk about these ideas that we know are so important but in a way that people can easily both use and share with their team and then hopefully see it diffuse throughout the organization. Joe: Who is the book meant for? Terri: Im going to say this and you are going to say thats no focus. I wanted to make it valuable for individual contributors, team members, managers and then the executives. The third practice, there are three practices in The Plugged-In Manager, is sharing. My

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    justification for pushing that as an important practice is if Im doing it thats good for me. If Im doing it inside my team, thats probably helping my team in some way. If everybody understands why Im doing things the way, then theyre going to come along and help. Theyre not going to be questioning why were doing it in this particular way So, we can be working together to find a good way to do the work we need. If you have it at the executive level, theyre going to be thinking about what kind of resources can I give to my people. Theyre going to be good at the first practice which is stop, look, listen and theyre going to be good at the mixing piece which is a second practice and so sharing really amplifies the other two. Joe: Is it like developing a best practice?

    Terri: Best practices are getting a lot of bad press these days. So, I will stay away from that. Its a way of thinking; its a discipline around how to approach these things. Would you mind if I go through the three practices in? Joe: No, not at all. Terri: That will give us a common background. The first practice of a Plugged-In Manager is to stop, look, and listen. Like a kid learning to cross the street, you dont want to get hit by a truck, and weve all been hit by trucks in organizations. Maybe, if we take a step back and we say, OK, just for the moment, Im not going to say I have to have that great new shiny piece of technology. I dont have to follow what my colleagues did and implement this new practice or hire this one person or this one person is going to save me. Thats not

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    the way to think about it. Lets stop and look and say, alright, my situation is this; the goals I need are that, my opportunities in terms of my people, my technology and my practices are these. Im going to stop and look and look at those opportunities and then once I do make a choice that first step, now Im going to listen and see how thats going. It ties back in nicely to thinking about using evidence in your work, thinking about using data in your work but stop, look, listen is the first practice. The second practice is this idea of mixing and saying; Ive seen what my options are in terms of my people, my technology tools, and my organizational practice. Sometimes you want to use them in relatively equal power positions. Other times it may be people focused change we need or process focused change or the technology might be the lead, but Im going to look to how to support that decision with the other two. I tell my students, you can never change just one thing. Typically you dont want to change everything all at once, but you want to make small moves and listen for the outcome. Make sure those small moves cover those three dimensions at least in terms of how youve considered how they work together. The third practice is this idea of sharing because as we share other people just come along and help or, find new ways for us to leverage o